Between the suspension of Thiago Silva and Neymar's back injury, Brazil will enter their World Cup semifinal against Germany as minor underdogs. You'd think Germany would be thrilled about this, but that's certainly not what they're saying publicly. German midfielder Sami Khedira and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer seem a bit disappointed that they can't play against Neymar, Brazil's biggest star.
"We are anything but happy to hear about the news," said Khedira. "It's bad news for us and every single football fan, especially the Brazilians. We want to compete with the best, and Neymar belongs to the best."
While a few cynical people might see that as a very polite lie, Neuer talked about Neymar's absence from a completely different angle, suggesting that it might not necessarily be a competitive disadvantage for the Brazilians.
"Without Neymar they will spread their match on many shoulders," said Neuer. "Until now, everything was focused on him. He is the star. Now the team is the star."
Given that Neymar hasn't scored or come particularly close to it over the last couple of games, he might have a point. The Barcelona man blitzed his way to the scoring lead with good performances against Croatia and Cameroon, but against higher quality opponents, he hasn't been great. Could Brazil actually look a bit more dangerous without an obvious focal point?